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It Comes in Colors: An RGB Grid Controller from Livid, RGB Grid Roundup

Lovers of the grid for music control now get to reenact the scene in MGM’s The Wizard of Oz, stepping out of the world of black and white into one of color. The OhmRGB, the latest controller from Austin, Texas-based controller and custom hardware shop Livid Instruments, adds multicolor LEDs behind its array of controls. We’ve already seen red, green, and yellow add color feedback on Novation’s Launchpad (and of course the APC line from Akai). The Livid piece bests Novation’s three colors with seven possibilities. For those who prefer their grids to come with knobs, faders, and crossfader, the …

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Nicolas Jaar, Making Electronic Music Eminently Live, Talks to MTV About Honesty

Nicolas JaarGet More: Nicolas Jaar, MTV Hive A few decades is a short time in the history of instruments. But something magical is happening: the electronic instrument, the computer, is finally easily shifting into performance scenarios, into improvisation, and into bands. (The performance features Livid’s Ohm64 and Ableton Live, with sax, guitar, and drums, at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge. See a note on the rig at Livid’s blog.) Look no further than Nicolas Jaar. In an insightful performance and conversation for MTV Hive, he reveals how he thinks about music – and puts his chops where his mouth is. …

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A Controller Love Supreme: Beautifully-Crafted Wooden Jazz Controller with Ableton Live

Nick Francis poses with his DIY, wooden controller – good enough for jazz. Photo: Justin Steyer for Seattle’s KPLU radio. In a world of disposable computers and electronics, making something “custom” is an antidote to throwaway hardware, a way of putting one’s own handiwork, care, and attention into the object with which you play music. Of course, it’s one thing to say it, and another thing to do it, but Nick Francis falls squarely in the “doer” camp. A jazz-focused radio broadcaster from Seattle’s KPLU, Nick says he’s been chopping up audio since he was doing it with razor blades …

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Hypersampling, Whatever Your Grid: Free mlrv2 Instrument, to monome and Beyond

Owing to a tradition that goes back to the first samplers and hip-hop pioneers, sampling and digital performance have become a kind of instrumental technique. You might play well, you might play poorly, but even working with samples, you can actually play. You can look at the simple design of the monome as the hardware embodiment of digital, a reflection of an array of pixels. You can see it as an extension of Roger Linn’s MPC and other drum machine concepts. It’s probably both those things. But since the monome itself makes no sound, it’s been software that has made …

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Want Encoders? Livid Reveals Hardware Covered with Them

Image: Livid Instruments. Livid Instruments has just revealed their next hardware controller. Well, sort of revealed – this evening on Twitter, they declared that it was a “Top secret sneak peek of our new controller.” Top secret – you know, just on the Internet. No one will see it there. It’s full of encoders, if that’s your thing. It’s called, cleverly, the “Code.” In addition to accompanying Livid’s own grid controllers, put this next to a monome, and you can manipulate continuous parameters alongside triggers. I could imagine someone doing some insane granular patch with an absurd number of parameters …

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Livid Builder: Modular DIY Music Controller Hardware System

Tired of needing xx more knobs or yy more pads or a specific feature in your control hardware? Ready to dive in and build your own? You’ve had a variety of options for some time that can help get you started, but Livid’s new Builder set of modular platforms is uniquely well-suited to the kinds of gear people now want to build. It’s loaded with inputs and outputs – necessary for the button- and knob-laden controllers of today – while at the same time uses modular boards and smart software to ease the learning curve. It’s probably still a little …

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Livid Block: Open Grid Button Controller Adds Knobs, Faders – and Choice

The grid is in. While the monome remains the standards bearer for hardware with grids of buttons on it, arrays of buttons are suddenly everywhere, in the commercial Akai APC40 and Novation Launchpad, and, from Livid Instruments, the Ohm64 and now the Block. I think it’s a real compliment to the monome’s creators – and the community that has authored ingenious open software for the monome – that there is this excitement around the design. The latest entry is Livid’s Block, a compact, aluminum-and-wood controller that’s easy to carry and which weighs less than 3 pounds. It’s not a monome …

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Livid’s Ohm64: Love Child of a Monome and a DJ-VJ Mixer Controller?

Look out, Akai APC40. There’s another contender in the emerging Controller With Lots of Buttons And Also Faders and Knobs and Crossfader product category. Livid’s Ohm64 combines the light-up button grid with faders, knobs, trigger buttons, and most importantly, unique customization options and a lovely wooden case. What’s unique about this one: High-end materials: anodized aluminum faceplate, “immersion gold-platted circuit boards” (guess that’s circuit bling), an optional wooden body (aluminum is available, as well, but wood is more fun). Not mass-market: hand-assembled, small-production Austin creation. Fully class-compliant, no drivers (also true of the APC as far as I know, but …

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Gallery: The Music and Visual Controllers of NAMM, Up Close

Jay Smith of Livid Instruments may be in the business of making controller hardware himself, but that doesn’t stop him from appreciate the knob-laden goodness of the NAMM show floor. Jay’s own gear reveals a not-so-secret love of knobs and buttons and faders, and if you’re into that sort of thing, this year’s NAMM music trade show had plenty to love – Akai’s APC40 controller for Live, Akai’s MPK keyboard, the Alesis MasterControl, Arturia’s Factory Experience controller for their soft synth emulations, and even another brutish-looking computer-in-a-keyboard, now with pads, from Open Labs. The shots give you a particularly good …

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